'Merkos Shlichus' Office pleased to inform that the summer Merkos…
By Matisyahu Friedman & Aryeh Leib Laufer
Providence, Rhode Island, is home to Jews of many walks of life. This Friday, we made a stop at the local JCC, a fairly sizable center, which houses a summer camp for some 70 children. Before dismissal, the kids came together for circle time. Seventy little faces were glowing to see us distinctly-dressed rabbis. Some knew our type; other couldn’t help but stare.
We began with a “Shalom” and a shofar, the kids mimicking the sounds in preparation for the blows. Then with a hush, as the Hebrew-school kids finished calling out everything they knew about Rosh HaShanah, theshofar rang out for all to hear.
And then the show:
The kids acted along the story line, and together we told a story of two simple tailors who scored a big job from a squire. When the payment was transacted, the greedy squire told them of a Jew imprisoned in his dungeons below—whose release could be arranged for 300 rubles, half of what they had earned. The tailors split ways, one taking his money, while the other traded his for the release of the captive. Upon returning home, the noble tailor was left impoverished, with no money to buy food for his family. The tailor was forced to ask a local fellow for some money. The person agreed to give him a few coins in exchange for a blessing. To his surprise, the blessing brought him unbelievable success, and soon the tailor was known far and wide for his ability to bless people.
When word reached the Baal Shem Tov (18th-century founder of the Chassidic movement), he decided to meet the tailor, hoping to understand the source of his blessing-powers. When the Baal Shem Tov learned of this man’s special deed, he explained that because of this tailor’s incredible act of charity and self-sacrifice, he merited this gift from on high.
A couple of twists and turns, and some jokes and quirks, kept all the ears perked.
We told the campers of the power of charity—a mitzvah that we were about to perform—as the counselors helped us distribute pennies to be put in the pushka (charity box). We even prepared a catchy song to teach the kids, a pushka tune to the beat of chassidic song: “Find a pushka / Do a mitzvah / G‑d will look on us /with a very big smile.”
All the while, one of us Rovers used the time to wrap-‘n-strap the male counselors and parents coming to pick up their children.
All in all, a big success, a fun experience, and many young minds stimulated with thoughts and acts of goodness and kindness.
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The Merkos Shlichus Student Visitation Program is celebrating 65 years since it was initiated by the Rebbe at the behest of the Previous Rebbe. Under the leadership of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, the program has grown to dispatch nearly 500 students across the globe each summer.
With permission from RovingRabbis.com. For more stories, photos and the latest news of Merkos Shlichus please visit RovingRabbis.com.
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